Inspiring, leading through his forgiveness

Inspiring, leading through his forgiveness
Nelson Mandela at press conference in Singapore

A great inspiration with a gift of being able to forgive his oppressors.

That is what South Africans here, whose lives have been touched by their late president Nelson Mandela, say.

South African Christine Scholtz, 43, told The New Paper: "He has taught me how to return to my roots and make me proud of where I come from, because of what he did for the country."

The mother of two boys aged eight and 11 runs a business selling roses in Singapore. She said she wished she had the chance to meet Mr Mandela in person.

She said: "If you are in a room with Nelson Mandela, you know that you are with a person who is charismatic, a person who has a unique personality."

Despite decades of discrimination, Mr Mandela found it in his heart to hold out the olive branch to his former oppressors.

Said Mrs Scholtz: "Nelson Mandela had the gift of forgiveness and he is an example for everybody all over the world because of what he had gone through and accomplished."

This is a trait which not many people have and that is why "we need more people like him", she said.


Fellow South African Maria Coelho, 45, said she grew up during the apartheid era.

The housewife, who has been in Singapore for three years, said: "He brought people of different colours together.

"People have become more respectful of each other and they have learnt how to live with each other."

But the change was not sudden and it took time to dismantle the apartheid rule, said another South African.

Mrs Liezel Le Roux, 43, a mother of three daughters who has been living here for seven years, paid tribute to the late leader.

She said: "This legend has given us the greatest examples of leadership in the previous century. What he offered us is an example of how to dance with complexity.

"The social, economic and political forces leading to the end of apartheid and the years of his presidency were enormously complex. But it was his uncompromising values, his timing of key decisions, driven by the principles of reconciliation and power sharing and an unswerving vision of the future of racial harmony that made him, in my mind, an outstanding leader."

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